tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC January 28, 2012 5:00am-5:30am EST
that's our report. thanks for watching. i'm john seigenthaler newt fails to shine in the sunshine state. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in florida. i'm leading off tonight with trading places. if newt gingrich loses the republican nomination, we're going to look back at last night's debate as the reason why. romn romney, not gingrich, was the aggressor, sparring and punching, looking more like newt. mitt floored newt with this one. >> i know that sounds like an enormous revelation, but have you checked your own
investments? you also have investments that invest in fannie mae and freddie mac. >> have you checked your own investments? what a line. newt had no answer. mitt's performance last night once again makes him the favorite to win florida next tuesday. for now, the favorite to win the nomination. but it wasn't all good news for romney. he seems to have trouble with telling the truth, basic stuff like when he said all his investments are held by a blind trust. not necessarily. or when he defended his vote for paul sagas. tonight, mitt romney meets the truth squad. and you've got doubt. no doubt heard that newt gingrich made this absurd claim about president obama last night. >> if you're for european socialism, you're with barack obama. >> to the republicans, he spewed that sort of stuff. i'm talking about newt gingrich here. to the voters?
we have the file on alinsky tonight. plus, the more newt and mitt duke it out, the better it is for president obama. he has a new spring in his step. one reason why is the fight we're all watching on the right. and newt gets an endorsement he could do without from prison from, as we say, inside. that's in the side show tonight. we begin with mitt romney's strong debate performance last night. susan page is the washington bureau chief for "usa today." howard, look at these two polls. two new polls out today that show the race in florida turning strongly for romney. take a look. both the latest sunshine state news poll and the quinnipiac poll have romney ahead. your sense of why newt is losing, why mitt is winning. >> well, mitt romney came last
night to do what he had to do. he was the new combat ready, up armored mitt romney. he gave newt gingrich's tact incompete -- tactics right back at him. he was in newt's face the whole time. it really had the feel of a bully being confronted by a guy who was ready for it. >> let's look at what newt said, one of his worst moments. he was asked by wolf blitzer about a spanish language radio ad his campaign made. the ad calls romney anti-immigrant. romney seized the opportunity to go after gingrich. let's watch. >> is he still the most anti-immigrant candidate? >> of the four of us, yes. >> i'm not anti-immigrant. my father was born in mexico. my mother was born in wales.
i think you should apologize it and having differences of opinions on issues does not justify labeling people with highly charged epithets. >> susan page, even when he gets mad and angry, he uses terms like highly charged epithets. i guess he won that round clearly. what do you make of that? he came very formally, as always, but very in control of the other guy like a bull fighter who's learned how to play the bull or the bully. >> one of the raps on mitt romney has been he doesn't reveal much of himself. he's kind of a stiff guy, but that wasn't the case in that answer. luckily for mitt romney, that was the first question out of the box last night on immigration. he was able to turn to this attack on newt gingrich that i'm sure would have been planned. but it came off as strong and newt gingrich, who ought to have
expected an exchange like this, did not seem prepared to come back at him. >> well, i've always said -- or i've said a lot over the years the greatest debate tactic is from the defensive position. in past debates, newt gingrich was always able to score points simply by going after the media, whoever was with him there. last night, he had wolf blitzer to tangle with and he lost. take a look at what happened when blitzer asked newt if he was satisfied with the transparency about mitt romney's tax returns which the governor released earlier this week. let's watch this back and forth, which had become a losing battle for the media. here's wolf standing up for his craft against, well, a guy who's trying to bully him. >> this is a nonsense question. [ applause ] how about if the four of us agree for the rest of the evening we'll talk about issues -- >> mr. speaker, you made an issue of this this week when you
said that he lives in a world of swiss bank and cayman island bank accounts. i didn't say that, you did. >> i did. i'm perfectly happy to say that on an interview on some tv show, but this is a debate where you get a chance to get us to answer questions. >> if you make an accusation, you need to explain that. >> you want to try again? >> wouldn't it be nice if people didn't make accusations somewhere else that they weren't willing to defend here? >> okay. all right. >> boy. >> boom. wolf blitzer stood his ground, and correctly so. we knew boos were going to come. but mitt romney, again, well schooled and well prepared for this debate. essentially sided with wolf blitzer. at the same time called newt gingrich out as a bully saying if you're going to say that off
the stage, i want you to say it to my face. that exchange showed me just how well prepared and determined mitt romney was in this debate. >> chilling stuff. great battle motion there and battle action. by the way, susan, you are a real pro. george will once told me years ago, the great columnist, that as an opinion writer, you have to be willing to walk through the locker room if you're writing a tough column on the team. that's part of the job. wolf walked through the lion's den last night. >> he did. one of the things that was working in mitt romney's favor is the audience was with him. one of the things that's given newt gingrich a lot of energy, especially in the big south carolina debate a week ago monday, was that the crowd was with him. that boosted newt gingrich and changed the dynamic of that debate. in the debate last night, the crowd wasn't entirely with mitt
romney, but some of it was and that helped. >> what about the point, the charge made by newt that the audience was stacked by the state party. >> well, i wrote about that last night. in this case, the partner was the republican party of the state. pretty establishment group in florida. the goose is good for the gander here. newt was insisting there be an audience. if he was going to insist on it, what do you think the romney crowd was going to try to do? newt went from being a triumphant character to a cry baby here. he just suffered from the same tactics that for eithered aer have tantly or inadvertently he benefitted from before. >> we're looking forward to the florida fight down here tuesday night. coming up, mitt romney had a problem it seems with stretching the truth, finding the truth, telling the truth.
we're going to get to that when we return. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] drinking a smoothie with no vegetable nutrition? ♪ [ gong ] strawberry banana! [ male announcer ] for a smoothie with real fruit plus veggie nutrition new v8 v-fusion smoothie. could've had a v8. is another way to look at the bean. another way that reveals the lighter, mellower side of our roast. being blonde is nothing new but blonde roast is something new. something subtle. something soft. something with 40 years of roasting experience on its side. introducing delicious new starbucks blonde roast. the lighter roast perfected. ♪
may have been a good, very good debate overall for mitt romney last night, but he had a few missteps, like stretching the truth a bit. joining me to talk about that a and what we're generously calling romney's fibs are msnbc political contribute david corn, who's also the washington bureau chief and susan milligan. let's look at what happened when newt gingrich called mitt romney out for voting for democrat paul sagas back in '92 in the massachusetts presidential primary. here he goes.
>> in '92, he was donating to democrats for congress and voted for paul songas. >> i've never voted for a democrat when there was a republican on the ballot. in my state of massachusetts, you could register as an independent and go vote in either primary. happens to be very interesting. any chance i got to vote against bill clinton or ted kennedy i took. so i'm -- [ applause ] i have always voted for a republican any time there was a republican on the ballot. >> well, let's go to david. the number of excuses he's given for voting for songas are dramatic. i believe he voted for him because he's a more moderate democrat. the idea he's now saying he voted for him in order to screw the democrats, to somehow complicate strategic voting doesn't pass the smell test. your thoughts, david.
>> remember 1992. this was not when bill clinton was president. it was a primary. bill clinton was seen also as being of the dlc, the conservative wing. he was a southern governor of the democratic party. so it wasn't like mitt was rushing to the barricades to stop liberalism from grabbing the throat of washington, d.c. you're right. it doesn't add up. you have to say, newt gingrich accusing mitt romney of being a fibber is like someone calling donald trump. >> susan, you're using the glove. i personally think he was a moderate democrat, somewhere on the 50 yard line. now he's trying to deny what he was. mitt romney was never a right winger. he was a moderate in the middle. you and i know, susan, songas was things for like social security.
he was trying to fix the system. why doesn't he brag for once about what he was, a moderate, thoughtful voter trying to do something intelligent. now he runs away from it. >> throughout this entire campaign, he's run away from a lot of his more moderate past. one of the more charitable explanations is that this is someone who comes from the business world. he's used to accommodating the product for the consumer. maybe he's accommodating himself, the product, for the electoral consumer. he's been trying to do this for the entire campaign. i don't know why he didn't say something like, look, he was the home state guy. i was just standing up for him in the primary. certainly in the general election i voted for the republican. i don't know why he didn't say that and be done with it. this just re-enforces what i think his greatest weakness is here. i think these little missteps, which would mean nothing for someone else, are more potent because they re-enforce what people's deepest concerns about governor romney is. >> here's what about -- i don't
get why you don't occasionally admit you do something. another moment last night, he denied having any knowledge about running this spanish radio ad in which he distorts a quote from newt gingrich. let's listen. why does he deny everything, this guy? >> you've had an ad running saying that speaker gingrich called spanish, quote, the language of the ghetto. what do you mean by that? >> i haven't seen the ad. i'm sorry. i don't get to see all the tv ads. did he say that? >> did you say -- >> i doubt that's my ad, but we'll take a look and find out. >> i doubt that was my ad. there he was talking away. here he is in the ad. the ad in spanish with translation. pay close attention to the tag line at the end. [ speaking foreign language ]
>> susan, i recognize that voice. >> the accent needs some work. >> how many takes did they have to do to get that line at the end of that ad? that's what i want to know. >> let's not get distracted by the quality of his other language. i know his french is better. just kidding. you're allowed to speak spanish but not french. what about this denying he ever sold the ad when he taped -- if he went to the trouble of saying it in spanish, we have to assume he remembers he did an ad in spanish. this was the one. >> chris, that's an oops moment that i think worthy of being in a rick perry support group. it just really -- it's so much worse than not being able to remember the third agency you want to eliminate. how could he possibly get up there and say, oh, was that my ad? i didn't see that ad. he clearly -- he must have spent some time working on this spanish or having someone work with him on this spanish for
that. >> maybe they got a voice impersonator. this is not the first time that he's done this. remember doing the iowa campaign. he was accused of, you know, about the super pac ads. i've never seen those ads. they describe what was right about them. he's done this before. my theory, chris, is that he thinks he's a stand-up guy. he does everything right. he was raised well. he's a gentleman. when his campaign does this other stuff, he creates some psychological distance between himself and what is going on in his name. so i could not have done that. oh, maybe i did. >> it doesn't seem like me. here's another one. here again is mitt romney last night in what was a good overall performance, we thought. listen closely to his answer. once again, he steps into the weeds of, well, dishonesty. >> governor romney owns shares of both fannie mae and freddie
mac. governor romney made $1 million off selling some of that. >> my investments are not made by me. they've been to blind trusts managed by a trustee. >> first, a lot of voters may have trouble sympathizing with anybody so wealthy as to have a blind trust. the associated press fact checker came up with this. they found this quote. not all of his investments have been in a blind trust. romn romney's personal financial disclosure forms show he owned between $250 thoirks and $500,000 in the fed rated government obligation fund, which contained freddie mac and fannie mae. an addendum says certain assets, including that fund, were outside the scope of his blind trust. so there you have it, david. it's clear. according to the associated press, he did have investments in fannie mae and freddie mac. they were not blind trusts. >> chris, this is the big issue.
it's kind of puzzling. he's had many years to think about this. mitt romney and his campaign can't figure out how he should talk about his own wealth, whether it's his taxes. he should just get up there and say, listen, i've done well. i have a gazillion dollars. i don't even know how many. i have people who manage these funds for me. i don't know what goes on. if you tell me there's freddie mac money in there, i'm going to tell them to get rid of it. i don't want it anymore. that's how he should handle this. every time we get to this issue, he somehow muffs it. it's somehow perplexing. >> thank you, david. thank you, susan. up next, newt gingrich picks up the endorsement of duke cunningham, who's doing time for bribery. i guess you get endorsements where you can get them. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
back to "hardball." now to the side show. first up, talk about extra baggage. newt gingrich has clinched another endorsement, but hold the celebration. it's excongressman duke cunningham, who is serving time for a federal bribery case. he's now reaching out to newt. quote, newt, a voice out of the past, down but not out and still fighting. first, i do not want anything from you, but have been watching the debates. i have 80% of inmates that would vote for you. they may not be able to, but their extended families will. of all the families, this takes the cake. i have no grudge against someone who's paying his debt to society. up next, amateur hour. that's right. at last night's debate, one subject was more comic relief
than nasty back and forth. newt's promise to voters that by the second term in white house, there will be an american colony on the moon. let's hear what two of his rivals had to say about the plan. >> i spent 25 years in business. if i had a business executive come to me and said they wanted to spend a few hundred billion to put a colony on the moon, i'd say you're fired. >> well, i don't think we should go to the moon. i think we should send some politicians up there. >> well, by now, you'd think mitt romney would be steering clear of those words, you're fired. i guess the lunar colony talk brought him back to the dark side. now for a fact check. arizona governor jan brewer drew scrutiny this week for the intense encounter she had with president obama. republican congressman of arizona came on "hardball" last night and had this to say about brewer's record and popularity in her home state. >> she came in the same time barack obama did.
the state in arizona was among the worst hit with the housing crisis. we were 47th in job creation. she's balanced the budget. she's universally loved in arizona. >> really? universally loved? where does brewer's approval stand in arizona really? well, in this november's ppp poll, 49% disapprove of brewer's performance. 42% approved. when it comes to the arizona governor, love is not all around her. now for the big number tonight. remember when president obama went musical at new york's apollo theater last week? ♪ i'm so in love with you >> well, thanks to the president, that al green hit is making a comeback. how much did weekly sales of the 1970s hit surge by the end of this week? 490%. talk about a bump in sales. as for the president's singing,
al green said he nailed it. 490% increase in sales of "let's stay together." that's tonight's big number. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. up next, "your business" with jj ramberg. moisturizing lotion. the natural oatmeal formula improves skin's health in one day, with significant improvement in 2 weeks. i found a moisturizer for life. [ female announcer ] only from aveeno. let me get you a free tank of gas -- how's that sound? progressive saved me money, and i'm saving you money. [ chuckles ] now these guys are protected with progressive. come on around. we'll fill up your tank for you. free gas! 5 more inches. now you're lined up for some free gas and savings, eh? [ horn honks ] hey, we're trying to save here. i came in for this. yeah, fill it up, too. thank you. don't thank me. i'm just the messenger.